Recently, Major Spoilers brought you news about Hulu’s upcoming slate of original programming, some of which is going to be debuting during the summer, notoriously a time where the traditional networks are just burning off reruns or under-performing shows.  Given the full saturation of 24/7 cable channels, as well as Hulu, Netflix and others launching their own original year-round programming, I wonder whether the traditional “school year” scheduling is going the way of Saturday morning cartoons and the Dodo…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wonders:  Given the sheer number of entertainment outlets available these day, should the traditional September-To-May network programming schedule be scrapped?


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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I honestly like the usual scheduling, along with mid-season and summer replacements. It gives a bit of order to an otherwise already messy TV schedule (since so many things shift around from day to day and time to time).

  2. Many networks have already done this. USA did it years ago with Burn Notice, HBO did it with Entourage, even AMC has done it a number of times with their shows. A few years ago ABC did it with their reality shows, and so on… Instead of asking if we should abandon the traditional “season,” maybe we as viewers should demand more than 13 episodes (or less) in a season.

  3. Syfy also does this. Warehouse 13 is set to premiere soon, with its ‘Summer Season’. The cable nets have taken advantage of the traditional Network schedule by using their original shows to compete with reruns on the networks. Even the networks have moved in this direction with their traditional scripted shows largely premiering in the fall, then premiering their reality programs in the spring and summer. The HBO/BBC model of shorter seasons is also starting to become the model across all of cable, largely because shorter seasons sell well as shorter and less expensive DVD collections. The Networks may eventually follow suit as the cost of 13 eps is cheaper and more easily packaged than 20-22. It also means less commitment by the nets in terms of money. If a 13 episode show gets picked up and then fails to meet expectations, it is more easily and more cheaply replaced.

  4. Yeah…I don’t care when a season happens on the calender as long as they stick to it. If they want 13 episodes at a time I say great, as long as that means 13 weeks of my shows with a reasonable break between “seasons”. Even split seems good to me, but i know nothing about producing a television sbow, a few extra weeks I could forgive. Basically I want the commitment to a schedule, whatever schedule that may be.

  5. Oldcomicfan on

    I agree that the whole “season” thing is meaningless. It used to be that a season started in September and ran until the end of May with NO breaks. This is why the first season of Star Trek had 30 episodes (if you count the pilot) and the first season of Perry Mason had 39 episodes, while Hawii 5-0 (the good series) had 26 episodes in the first season, as opposed to modern series that have only 13 episodes a season – if you’re lucky.

    The show that annoys me more than any other is the new PBS series Sherlock – the “season” consists of 3 – count ’em 3 episodes, and that’s it! I mean, why even bother if you’re only going to do three episodes a year?

    The start of the fall season keeps getting pushed back – instead of September, it’s now often Oct. or Nov. before the shows start, just in time for several breaks. Just what the heck is “sweeps week” anyway? And why would they interrupt the season to show reruns during that week instead of showing good episodes, anyway?

    Then you’ve got networks moving shows around their schedules like they’re trying to hide them from the censors or something. In the old days the only breaks in the seasons were during Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter holidays, when all the specials were one. And given that the cable channels add and subtract new shows with the frequency of a man with Monteczuma’s Revenge changing his underwear, the whole notion of seasons has lost all validity.

    • I am a Sherlock fan, but you have everyright to dislike the three episode season, but remember they are all hour and a half shows. They are practically movies in their own right…well, made for TV movies. But I feel the production values are high enough to forgive the short seasons. Plus, they were up front about it. That’s my defense of Sherlock.

  6. I don’t really care about the exact scheduling used so long as it’s done regularly; I hate networks that just randomly switch shows or have no set time for premieres (my mom calls this Hallmark Channel syndrome). I want to see them rework how ratings are measured, since the DVR, streaming networks like Hulu, & cable have made the old Nielsen model incredibly impractical, yet they seem excessively reluctant to acknowledge this. So long as they find a more accurate & modern way to measure ratings instead of relying on a model that can only account for 3 networks largely at primetime, they can schedule however they feel.

  7. I wonder if it would ever be feasible for the networks to just buy packages of shows and just run them, the way they do in syndication? It seems that the traditional “Fall Lineup” is a dead issue…

  8. If I had my way the regular networks would have a September-to-May main schedule (where Fox was far less kowtowing to American Idol) and a short Summer schedule that could be used for testing out shows for the longer S2M season and just for show that, for whatever reason, work just fine with the shorter schedule.

    I’d like to see the cable networks (be it your HBOs or USAs) go to some schedule as well. No, they’re not nearly as beholden to have to keep a schedule, but it could cut down costs on advertising a new show or season for an old show if it’s coming out the same time as many others instead of starting it off in the middle of nowhere, so to speak.

    I also don’t mind the split schedules where they show the first half of a season and then the latter half later in the year, though I’d like to see a bit more advertisement about it if they do so. Young Justice, just as an example, was yanked with no word on when it was coming back. We know now that they were waiting for the DC Nation block to happen, but getting out the word that it *IS* coming back and a ballpark figure as to when would be helpful.

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